Since the last time I wrote, some time has passed and many diapers have been filled. Sometimes I think my new daughter is an undercover agent for Huggies.
On December 17th, our daughter Megan Elizabeth was born, and our lives changed again. I have many thoughts, emotions, and anecdotes about the labor, birth, and life with the baby, but I will leave most of that to my wife. I wanted to share here a special interaction I had with God during the birth of my new little girl.
Coming into December, my wife was getting more and more uncomfortable everyday, and the doctor scheduled an induction for December 17th. We were looking forward to the day, but with each day came more and more ominous reports from the weather folk of a horrible storm coming. The storm was going to bring feet of snow to all of western Washington and everyone should take necessary precautions. This did not help my wife’s state. This could be bad in a lot of ways; my Mom (who was going to watch our boys) might not be able to get to us, my Mom might not be able to bring the kids to the hospital to see their sister, Michelle’s family might not be able to come. Really the biggest and most important concern was getting Michelle and baby safely to and from the hospital. I neglected to take that “Emergency Childbirth” class in college, though I am trained in CPR… which probably wouldn’t have come in handy.
I tried not to think about it and just resolved to wait and see. Then, on Sunday the 14th, I woke up slowly and started praying as I sometimes do in the morning. As I was laying there, verses started coming to mind such as James 1:6-8, Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 4:16, and especially James 5:16b:
“…the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”
Right then I started praying for God to hold the storm back for us. To understand the significance of this, I offer a little background on my experience with prayer. I come from a fundamentalist Christian community, and as such, I am used to praying for spiritual growth, resistance against sin, good spiritual habits, etc… I typically don’t pray for seemingly grandiose things, and if I do, it’s normally followed up quickly with “it’s that’s Your will, Lord”.
But lying there, I kept thinking that God is obviously capable of holding the storm back for us. And if I were request this of God, I could easily see Him saying “sure, I can do that” (and just as easily “actually, that’s not what I’m planning”). I resolved to pray for God to hold back the storm and I came away from prayer certain that He would do it. It seems odd to explain, but I wasn’t arrogant in thinking I had pushed the right buttons to get what I wanted, but I just felt absolutely certain God was going to answer that prayer affirmatively. The only other times I have prayed that fervently was for the salvation of my cousin dying of cancer, and for the life of Leah, a girl born with a heart defect should have killed her as an infant five years ago. Both those prayers were answered with a “Yes”.
We left for the hospital at 5:00 am on Wednesday. There was a dusting of snow, nothing remotely dangerous. During the 6 hours of labor, we kept looking out the window and remarking that there was some snow, but that it wasn’t sticking and the roads looked clear. I kept thinking “Wow, He did it! Those poor weatherman are going to look dumb.” After the birth, all the family came in, including my Mom with the boys and Michelle’s family. At some point in the late afternoon, we got to our recovery room and I was anxious to turn on the news and hear them explain how they could be so wrong.
I was utterly confused. They were showing non-stop montages of cars stuck in the snow, people slipping all over the place, hardware stores sold out of de-icer and salt… western Washington was getting hit with feet of snow! I worried if maybe the doctors had put some of Michelle’s pain medication in my cheeseburger as a joke and I tried to figure out why I didn’t see any of this mayhem out outside.
Then they showed those Doppler images that indicate the precipitation activity. It was white all over… except for a big dark spot directly over Tacoma (where I live) and Puyallup (the hospital). I’m sure some will question my conclusion, and some will question my exegesis abilities (which I admit is still lacking), but I will forever be convinced that God cupped His hands around my family and made the storm pass over us. This seems even more fantastic to me than the storm never even coming!
There is a lot of false teaching out there about prayer. A lot of it revolves around using prayer to get what you want. I was apprehensive about sharing my story mostly because I didn’t want to enforce wrong thinking. However it occurred to me that although God loves His children, His main purpose in anything is to bring glory to His name. I would be derelict if I took an amazing gift that God gave to me and hid it in the ground. I didn’t manipulate God for my own benefit, I boldly approached Him, made a request that is impossible for me, but child’s play to Him, and He poured grace on my family. To God alone be the glory.
God has allowed us the priviledge to commune with Him in prayer and we need to use it. Even if God hadn’t done what I was wishing for, His plan would still have been the best possible one. Whatever the case, I became closer to my Creator through this “conversation”. He truly is an awesome God.